There is no doubt that Tennessee has a host of beautiful scenery, from mountains to rivers, lakes to forests. In fact, according to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee forests cover approximately 52% of the state.
Unfortunately, our land and rivers have been contaminated with all manners of trash, from fast food containers to improperly disposed of tires. All that garbage can be horrible for the environment. Not only does litter contaminate our groundwater, but it can be detrimental to the animals and plants in the environment.
However, there is something you can do to help!
Aside from positively impacting our environment, volunteering in nature also has tremendous benefits for your physical and mental health.
Here’s what you need to know:
Volunteering in Nature Can Improve Your Physical Health
Volunteering in nature is a great way to exercise and promote a heart-healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that volunteering outdoors alongside a river, lake, forest or Tennessee’s scenic byways can strengthen your immune system and increase lung function.
Research has also shown that being in nature lessens morbidity and mortality, decreasing respiratory illness, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other comorbidities and conditions.
Furthermore, it provides an excellent opportunity to stay active and increase your fitness level. Whether you are picking up fast food containers along the roadside or hauling bags of trash out of the lake.
Volunteering Outdoors Also Improve Your Mental Well Being
One of the biggest benefits of volunteering in nature is how it improves your mental health. First, you will get a sense of pride and accomplishment when you make a positive impact on your community.
Whether you are planting trees and flowers, picking up litter and recycling, or helping maintain parks and trails, there is a great sense of purpose in what you do. Additionally, volunteering outdoors has improved moods and reduced overall stress levels.
In fact, according to research, contact with nature has been known to help with depression and anxiety and leads to more positivity in one’s life. So, it is hard not to be in a good mood when you take in the natural beauty of our state.
How You Can Get Involved With Litter Cleanup Events in Tennessee
Want to benefit from volunteering in nature but need help figuring out where to start? You can help reduce litter in Tennessee and simultaneously focus on your mental and physical health. Check out our event calendar and find an event that resonates with you! Join the Nobody Trashes Tennessee Movement and work on yourself at the same time!
- Forests – Tennessee Department of Agriculture
(Department of Agriculture, TN.gov)
- Littering Costs Everyone
(Facts & Statistics, LitterFreeinTennessee.org)
- How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising Mechanisms and a possible central pathway
(Ming Kuo, Frontiers.org)